Handicapping the European Ryder Cup captaincy

Paul McGinley, Colin Montgomerie and Darren Clarke are in contention to be the Ryder Cup captain. (GettyImages)

The European Tour's 15-man Ryder Cup selection committee is meeting tomorrow in Abu Dhabi to discuss who they will counter with as a captain opposite Tom Watson.

The three names you need to know are Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke, and Colin Montgomerie.

Let's look at the three of them separately and talk about their odds of being named captain.

Darren Clarke

He would be the people's choice, except for the little matter of him not really wanting to do it. It goes back to his 2011 British Open title, which made him exempt for another few years into all four majors. Of that, he said:

I won one of the biggest prizes in golf by winning The Open and I am exempt for another three years (into the majors). If I was given the opportunity to do the captaincy I'd effectively be throwing two of those years away. I'm still wrestling with it. It's a tough one for me, but to be honest with you, I want to play golf.

Colin Montgomerie agrees with Clarke:

I can fully understand where Darren is coming from...Because we're close friends he knows it took a year and a half out of my career. If you come back after a year and a half out you might not be able to use those exemptions to the same potential.
I'm not sure how much of that is political positioning from Montgomerie and how much is truth, but the reality of the situation is that he's right about the time thing. Davis Love III even agreed, talking about how the burden affected him both mentally and physically.
Clarke will be captain one day. It just won't be in 2014.

Odds: 10/1

Colin Montgomerie

Ever since Tom Watson was named captain of the U.S. team, Montgomerie has been moving and shaking his way into contention for the Europeans. His not-so-subtle hints to the 15-man committee include statements like this:

It would be a dream come true if I could be seen to be captain at home in Scotland.

These are calculated and weighty words coming from a man who already has one Ryder Cup title under his belt.

Not everyone is on board, however. In fact, a large contingent of golfers who will probably be on the team are not. 

Odds: 5/1

Paul McGinley

McGinley was one of the two favorites before Montgomerie joined the fray, and ever since Clarke backed off his desire for the captaincy, McGinley's name has risen to the top.

Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell (maybe you've heard of them) agree with McIlroy's assessment above. Here's what Donald had to say about the situation:

I do believe that if Paul doesn’t get it this year, he probably won’t get it at all, whereas, I feel like Darren will have other opportunities.

And McDowell:

Both Paul and Darren would be great captains but Paul has forged a little niche for himself, given the way he has conducted himself in the Seve Trophy and the Ryder Cup vice-captaincy roles. 

McDowell went on to say that Clarke would make a better captain on American soil, in 2016 perhaps?

McGinley also has Jose Maria Olazabal in his corner, a man who would figure to have some weight in picking the next European captain.

With all the major players sidling up to McGinley's corner, it's hard for me to imagine him not getting the nod. 

Of course, Larry Nelson is hitting balls on a range somewhere probably saying the same thing about himself...

Odds: 5/4

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories